Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Ex-deputy receives probation

 


A former Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Deputy was placed on two years supervised probation for a felony perjury conviction.

Tuesday morning, an emotional Sean Christopher Henry, 45, appeared in the Third District Court of Judge Richard Lavery at an argued sentencing hearing.

In March, Henry’s case, which included, three felony perjury charges, went before a 12-person jury. It took the jury five hours to make the decision to clear Henry of two out of the three felony perjury charges against him.

The charge Henry was found guilty of stems from a traffic stop that occurred on Sept. 5, 2014. It was proven that Henry’s statements about this particular arrest were false and fabricated based on the investigation conducted on the matter.

Prior to handing down the sentence, Judge Lavery spoke directly to Henry.

“In my life people are rarely, exclusively bad or good,” Lavery said. “I don’t believe you are a bad man. There is a good deal of good in you.”

“On the other hand, you have done a bad thing,” Lavery said.

Judges, attorneys and police officers take oaths to be truthful and they work hard every day to keep the public’s trust.

Lavery said Henry’s actions caused the public to lose trust in the system. Lavery said he believed Henry loved his job, but that he was not suited for it.

Lavery told Henry since he could no longer work as a police officer he wished him luck finding a job he would love just as much.

Lavery gave Henry a one-to-three year suspended prison sentence, and two years of supervised probation. Henry was also ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and, to Henry’s protests, attend a Level I corrective thinking class.

Before Judge Lavery sentenced Henry, Henry had a chance to address the court and judge.

“I have taken ownership of this. I was the one who wrote this affidavit out,” Henry said.

Henry suffers from dyslexia, other learning disabilities and post traumatic stress disorder.

“I wanted to be a cop so bad,” he said. “I’ve served proudly and I love the people of Sweetwater County.”

Henry, who cried while speaking to the judge, said what he did was done without malicious intent and he knows it was a mistake.

During the argued sentencing hearing, several people spoke highly of Henry, including two Sweetwater County Sheriff’s deputies and a former coworker and friend from Atlanta.

Ken Peck, Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent, said he has known Henry since the police academy and worked with him in Atlanta. He said Henry was the most selfless man he knew. Peck said Henry was always volunteering for different groups and helping people out.

Peck admitted Henry always had a problem completing his reports because of his learning disabilities, but at the Atlanta police department he worked at, the department’s supervisor made sure to review and have Henry correct them. Peck said Henry suffered from PTSD after Henry had to shoot someone else in the line of duty. Peck described it as a kill or be killed situation. After that, Henry and Henry’s family starting receiving death threats and he took a job and moved to Wyoming.

Peck said Henry told him he was happy working at the Sweetwater County Detention Center, but was stressed out when department supervisors put pressure on him to return to the patrol field.

Eventually, he moved into the patrol field and told Peck he was concerned about his reports.

He said the supervisors wanted him to get them done as quickly as possible and even after Henry asked his supervisor to review them, the supervisors didn’t. Once Peck was done with his testimony, to everyone’s surprise a juror who was part of the jury that convicted Henry on one count of perjury took the stand to ask the judge to show mercy on Henry.

Leslie Gatti said she noticed while reviewing the tapes during the trial, Henry was courteous to people and really cared about his job and others.

“I don’t think he was trying to be deceiving,” she said.

Gatti described Henry’s actions as trying to put a technical term on something that didn’t need the technical label.

“We was doing the job to the best of his ability,” Gatti said.

Because he is a felon that will exclude him from good jobs and that is already a hard price for him to pay.

“A felony record is punishment enough,” she said.

 

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